The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of fire station premises, is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under section 10 of the Fire Services Act 1981. My Department supports the fire authorities through setting general policy, providing a central training programme, issuing guidance on operational and other related matters and providing capital funding for priority infrastructural projects.
Under the 2006 Fire Service Capital Programme a proposal by Laois County Council to build a new fire station at Rathdowney was received by my Department and approval-in-principle was granted to proceed to the planning stages. Laois County Council submitted costings and design plans on 2 June 2009 for consideration by my Department. Given the constraints on public finances, priority has been given to the appliance fleet and further support from my Department’s Fire Services Capital Programme to proceed with a new fire station at Rathdowney will have regard to national priorities, the totality of requests from fire authorities countrywide, Laois County Council’s priorities, the extent of previous investment in Laois fire service, the value for money offered by proposals and the status of existing facilities having regard to area risk categorisation.